Volleyball Hosts Georgia, No. 3 Florida for Final SEC Matches
Kentucky closes out the home season with Senior Day on Sunday
The University of Kentucky volleyball team enters the final week of the traditional regular season with two matches left to play before the SEC Tournament in Columbia, S.C. next week. The Wildcats fell to No. 23 Louisville in a locally televised match in Cardinal Arena on Monday despite taking a game off the Cardinals for the first time since the 1999 season. UK will play host to Georgia Friday and No. 3 Florida for Sunday’s Senior Day.
The Florida match marks the end of three Wildcats’ careers in the confines of Memorial Coliseum. Sissy Canfield, Julie Davis and Liz McCaslin will each bid farewell to the home crowd in a special pre-game ceremony.
The Cats managed to split their home SEC matches last week, falling 3-1 to South Carolina on Wednesday before upsetting Tennessee, 3-1, on Friday evening. The victory over the Lady Vols clinched the Wildcats a spot in the league tournament and was capped by a 21-kill, 13-dig performance by freshman phenom Melissa Popp.
Georgia has dropped three of its four matches since falling to the Wildcats three weeks ago in Athens. The Cats lone victory in the stretch came via a 3-0 home sweep of LSU. The Bulldogs enter the weekend with a 15-12 overall record and an 8-6 mark in conference play.
Sophomore Julia Petruschke, last season’s SEC Freshman of the Year, leads the Bulldogs with 4.38 kills per game, while contributing 2.99 digs per game as well. Senior Rashinda Reed leads the front line with 1.41 blocks per game.
Former Kentucky standout Mary Jones Buczek is in her fourth season as head coach at Georgia, boasting a 61-56 record. Buczek began her career as an assistant coach at UK in 1990 before taking an assistantship at North Carolina. After two years as an assistant at Florida, Jones earned her first head coaching job at Wake Forest.
With its victory in Athens last month, Kentucky evened the overall series with UGA at 21 matches apiece.
Florida has continued to roll through SEC play, winning all four of its matches since handing the Cats a 3-0 loss on Oct. 24. The Gators have not lost a single game in league play this season and have lost just one match all year.
Senior Aury Cruz continues to dominate the UF stats, averaging 4.32 kills per game and 3.30 digs per game. The Gators were dealt a tough blow just two days after defeating the Wildcats when senior middle blocker Benavia Jenkins tore her ACL against South Carolina, ending her collegiate career.
Former Kentucky assistant Mary Wise continues her pursuit of her first NCAA title in her 13th season in Gainesville. Wise an exemplary 502-105 career record in her 17th season and has led her team to a record 128-match SEC win streak, dating back to Sept. 20, 1995.